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Johnson C. Smith University students awarded summer research grant

Charlotte, N.C. (December 7, 2011) —  Three students from Johnson C. Smith University have received a grant to attend an eight-week graduate mentoring and research experience at the University of California Riverside campus next summer. The grant will focus on African American literature and literary studies.

They are among 18 students selected from a nationwide pool of applicants from historically black colleges and universities. The students selected from Johnson C. Smith University are the only students selected from North Carolina. They are Asia Mapp, of Sacramento, Cal., an English major whose research will focus on the cultural and historical differences between African American literature and American literature; Janelle S. Martin, of Roosevelt, N.Y. an English major who will research Jamaica Kincaid and her novel Lucy; and Lauren Simmons, of Chicago, an English education major whose research will focus on Julia Alvarez's How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and related questions of race, family, gender and psychology.

“I am very proud of and excited for our students,” said Dr. Matthew M. DeForrest, associate professor of English and interim chair of the Department of Languages and Literature at Johnson C. Smith University. “The three students who applied to the program were all accepted. While such an acceptance rate speaks well of our program, I think it says even more about the quality of the Languages and Literature majors and how far they can go. I have no doubt that this opportunity is their first step on the long and fruitful journey they will begin after graduating from JCSU.”

The goal of the University of California initiative is to increase the number of African American students enrolling in UC doctoral programs in all disciplines, according to Erica Edwards, assistant professor of English and principal investigator of the grant.

Historically black colleges and universities do a better job of preparing African American students to be professors and scientists, according to a 2010 report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Edwards said. Seventeen of the 21 top producers of black students who pursue Ph.D.s in the sciences were historically black colleges and universities, she said. And black students at HBCUs are more likely than their peers at other institutions to collaborate with faculty members on research.

Founded in 1867, Johnson C. Smith University is the premier independent urban liberal arts university located in the heart of Charlotte, N.C. It offers a progressive liberal arts curriculum with 26 fields of study to nearly 1,500 students. The University prepares students for success through excellent academic programs with a focus on servant leadership, civic engagement and global responsibility.     





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